Hospital admissions for eating disorders rose by 16% in England between 2011 and 2012. Eating disorder experts have said that these figures are “just the tip of the iceberg” and it is estimated that about 1.6million people across the UK are affected by an eating disorder.
Further details on this story can be found here.
The main characteristic of an eating disorder is the individual’s obsession with their weight; these obsessive thoughts can lead to severe consequences in both their health and their actions.
Research has shown that females are much more likely to develop anorexia and bulimia than males. However, this is not the case with binge-eating disorder, which seems to develop in almost as many males as females.
Common symptoms of eating disorders
- dramatic weight loss or gain in a fairly short period of time
- an obsession with weight
- obsession with calories and fat content of foods
- experiencing low self-esteem
- experiencing suicidal thoughts or attempting suicide
- obsessing about food and body image
- isolation and fear of eating while others are around
- unusual food rituals and secretive eating patterns
- hiding food in strange places to avoid eating or to eat secretly at a later time
- feeling anxious, lonely or depressed
The three main types of an eating disorder:
Anorexia nervosa: an obsession with weight loss resulting in refusal to eat or irregularity in eating patterns. It is not a loss of appetite but a serious perception disorder.
Bulimia consists of an individual binge eating (compulsively eating a much larger amount of food than normal). This is not because the person is really hungry but more to comfort themselves from other issues such as stress or depression. The foods consumed during this binge eat are usually comfort foods, such as sweets, cakes and chocolate with high values of sugar and lots of calories or high carbohydrate foods. The sufferer then feels appalled and thinks they have to relieve themselves by getting rid of the food, usually by vomiting shortly after the binge.
Binge eating can be characterised in a number of ways,, such as eating the food quicker than usual, eating secretly in places where no-one is around, feeling full up but continuing to eat, consuming foods that are seen as naughty and feeling they cannot control their habit. This is usually followed by intense feelings of regret and guilt. Research has shown that this disorder is more common in women than in men.
More details on binge eating and it’s treatment can be found here.